Minister accused of discrimination against hill farmers

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is insisting on imposing regulations in regard to hill and commonage farmers participating in the new GLAS environmental scheme despite the fact that these regulations are not required by the EU.

This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin following a meeting held between the Minister and representatives of hill and commonage farmers in Dublin.

“It is amazing, to say the least, that Minister Coveney is persisting in placing obstacles before farmers who have the ability and intention of delivering the environmental outcomes required by the European Union under the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, she said.

The MEP went on to say that the Minister has accepted the right of hill and commonage farmers to continue to receive Single Farm Payments but to exclude well intentioned farmers from the income and environment enhancing GLAS scheme through unnecessary requirements is both discriminatory and unacceptable.

Independent MEP said she will continue to work with these farmers to secure the outcomes sought by the EU and necessary to maintain the social and economic fabric of sensitive hill areas.

Meanwhile hill farmers are to march on Castlebar in protest tomorrow (Friday) following months unrest over the Department of Agriculture’s implementation of the new GLAS scheme.

The Hill Farmers for Action group took the decision at a recent executive meeting. The Group which are calling the protest a ‘march for fairness’. It says it will start at 1pm on Friday moving from McHale Park to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s office.

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